Investigators have ruled out tampering or criminal intent as a cause for the Aug. 10 gas explosion and fire that killed seven at the Flowers Branch Apartments in Silver Spring.
A natural gas explosion in the meter room is to blame for the deadly explosion that left seven people dead, Montgomery County officials said during a press conference on Friday.
Officials confirmed that on July 25 a report was made about the smell of natural gas in the area. A survivor stepped forward and said he was the one who made that call, more than two weeks before the explosion. Authorities did respond that day, but nothing was found.
Adrianne Boi said he called rescuers because he was frustrated that managers for building owner Kay Apartment Management were ignoring complaints of gas odors.
He said he was preparing to call 911 in the seconds before the Aug. 10 explosion after he smelled gas again while taking out the trash. The explosion happened as he was returning to his third floor unit.
Boi has hired an attorney, Joseph Cammarata, who blamed the apartment management company.
“The management company responded by saying ‘that was nothing to be alarmed about, it was just cleaning chemicals or paint,” Cammarata said.
Fire officials added that the building does not require any type of gas detection in any of the apartment buildings.
Friday, officials also identified three of the seven victims as 53-year-old Maria Auxiliadoria Castellon-Martinez, 62-year-old Augusto Jimenez Sr and 65-year-old Saul Paniagua.
Officials said the remains of victims were in such a condition that a visual identification was not possible.
"Investigators will continue to work until all victims are identified so they can be returned to their families," officials said Friday.
The NTSB expects to issue a full report on the Silver Spring apartment explosion within the next 12 months.